Ear Infection, Again. Intervention needed?

Moments that aren’t your proudest as a Mammy? I’ve had a few of those. My most recent being the realisation that the only possible solution to my screaming toddler, in pain, grabbing his ear at 9pm on Sunday night was to shake that bottle of Calpol (like it was a polaroid picture) to get the remaining almost 3ml out of it and praying to all and any gods out there that it would ease his pain and that it wasn’t another blasted ear infection. I wouldn’t mind, but the chemist below my doctors knows us by name and I’ve a strong feeling would nominate me as customer of the month. But, in times of need (and after closing time of any shops or chemists that would sell infant painkillers) it seems that the mountain of bottles of Calpol or Nurofen that we’ve purchased over the last two years has vanished into thin air, leaving only the dregs at the bottom of one bottle, and thankfully (mercy of all mercies) one purple syringe to get the stuff into him.

Ear Infection, Again. A tale of a toddler in need of an ENT - BadMammy.com, Ireland, 2016.

Yes, it’s another ear infection.

I say another, because it’s only been two weeks since the last. My boy does it in style, never just the one ear, always both, and it’s rarely the ear that alerts us to this. No, he sounds like a 30 a day smoker in the two day run up to the doctors appointment which has, each time (bar one) said “Chest is perfect, but he’s in great form for someone with such red ears, he must be in a lot of pain”. He’s not even two yet and the amount of antibiotics he’s been on is approaching double digits. While this has become less traumatic since the recent revelation that if you mix it with Calpol it becomes less disgusting and can be marketed as “Yum yum medicine”, it’s still not ideal for my little man’s immune system. I’m afraid to google just how crap it is going to be on his gut and general health, because seriously, there is enough stuff out there to terrify you based on “recurrent ear infections” alone.

My GP wants us referred to an ENT to approach getting grommets fitted, to reduce his ear infections by draining fluid. While I’m thrilled at the thoughts of less horrific nights with a child in pain, crying and being unable to do anything about it, the thought of putting my little man under surgery terrifies me just a bit. As much as he’s getting big and independent, he’s still my small baby, still the tiny boy I brought into the world and have vowed to protect from all the horrible stuff out there. I had this procedure done myself as a child who was also ridiculously ear infection prone, as have other family members so I know it’s routine. I know it’s one of the most common procedures in paediatric care, that I have nothing to worry about. I also know that I’m extremely lucky to be able to use private health insurance to speed up the process, as doctors have advised me that to go publicly to see an ENT would take more than a year, possibly up to three years, just to be put on the list. To contrast that, I’ve been told that a private doctor consult AND the procedure would likely be done by the Summer. Our two tier healthcare system is truly worthy of despair, but I am lucky to be able to say that I’m on the end of it which can get my child seen sooner, to hopefully make this problem which makes him cry and wake at night in pain, leave him alone and let him get on with his childhood, hopefully close to ear infection free.

In the mean time, we continue to give the antibiotics, the pain medication, go through the sleepless nights and the bargaining with Cheerios and Netflix to get the child to calm down in order to start over. And continue our 4am vendetta to tell the ear infection to go and jump for itself.

Have you had experience with a child with grommets, or needing to see ENT for recurrent ear infections? I’d like to hear from other parents who have been through it so I can get a better picture of what is involved from the parent side of things, to hopefully allay my fears! Let me know in the comments or drop a mail to me, would be much appreciated!


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  1. Hi badmommy

    I feel your pain or that of your little one. I was very prone to ear infections as a kid and lo and behold my kids followed in my footsteps. My eldest son has a million earinfections and antibiotics by the time he was two. Mild hearing impairment that came and went and eventually he grew out of. My daughter had a chronic runny nose from age 1-3. No idea why. Eventually the excuse of it being yet another cold didn’t cut the cake so got her referred and tested. Hearing impairment. And she got referred to get grommets fitted and adenoids and tonsils removed. Speech and hearing improved drastically. Waking from the full anesthetics was most traumatic part. She was very upset and I was unprepared. She got another set of grommets at age 4.5 after the first set had come out. That was a lot better as she was older and understood what was happening. The first operation was traumatic for child and me. If your little one is just two they might be s bit upset when they wake up. My daughter is quite particular about certain things and putting on the gown and her name tag were a huge deal to her. I wish someone had prepared me. But all will get well in the end. It’s a day case so you should be in and out in one day. And your little one will be just fine x

    1. Thank you – sounds like your daughter really didn’t have a good time of it, my Mam said I was much the same – refused to sleep or eat afterwards until we got home, and had fought the mask completely! Thanks for your reassuring words!

  2. Hi badmammy,
    I have 3 boys with grommets, recurrant ear infections, long term damage of antibiotics for my oldest r his new teeth! I found grommets did fix and reduced a lot of my gangs probe, still battling with them here but while grommets r working it’s a relief, I’ve a mask here that the kids play with b4 they go under so they r not afraid of going under! X feel free to get in contact any time.

    1. Thank you! It’s a relief to see others who have been in my shoes and gotten through it with the grommets making a big difference, definitely putting my mind at ease!

  3. Hi there my son was four when he had a grommet. Though it is scary for any mum he thought it was a big adventure. Go private by all means but we certainly didnt have a long wait – we waited a month or so for a hearing test and the procedure was done a month after that. The staff in hospital have a great patter for kids ops and even now he talks about the canula or Spiderman web thrower as they called it! He was up and bouncing around within an hour 🙂 he has had them twice and we are now grommet free and his hearing is nigh on perfect. Good luck 🙂

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